Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Outside Ecosystem Hunt

Today we went was finally sunny!  We were able to go on a hunt of our "real" school yard ecosystem to search for plants, evidence of animals and non-living items.  We found many plants - grass, trees, flowers, berries, honey suckle, moss, etc.. That was easy!  I mean...look at the lush countryside that surrounds our school.  We have a meadow right outside my classroom that borders several acres of woods.   Across from our playground is the little red barn (a historic barn I actually witnessed them moving off our property in the 1990's to "save it").   Just wait a few more days until the leaves start to have never seen a more beautiful view! So pretty...
Anyway, next we searched for animals or evidence of animals.  I must say I was impressed with their list of evidence:  nests, poop (hee hee), birdhouse, animal tracks, hole (for a snake or worms), ant hill, and hand prints (in our cement - evidence of humans).  The kids really took the "hunt" seriously... they really worked hard observing the life that they saw in our own backyard.

Finally, we looked for non-living items in the ecosystem.  This led to the usual conversation about dead items.  Are sticks living even if they are dead?  Perfect time to introduce the scientific terms of abiotic (things that have never been living = nonliving) and biotic (things that are living or once lived and are now dead = living).  We found  fence, gate, school building, newspaper, old sweater, soil, flower pot, etc...
By the way...isn't this a super cute bird house?  One of my favorite former students, Cole, made it for me when he was in 2nd grade.  I've had it in my room for years and finally decided to put it outside for the birds to use. 

Here is a sample of what the kids used to record on when they were outside.  We used clipboards to lean on and then stapled them into our notebooks when we returned and went over it.

Tomorrow:  Learning about the roles or niche of the wiggling worm!

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